Learn how to make a healthy version of steamed buns that incorporates a whole package of silken tofu! These Japanese-styled tofu steamed buns are soft and fluffy on the outside, and sweet and chewy on the inside-- all thanks to the sweet red bean paste filling and a pre-cooked mochi filling that is so easy to prepare in the microwave.
Why I love this Recipe
- Soft and fluffy on the outside, Sweet and Chewy on the inside
- Incorporates tofu, making these healthy and also higher in protein than regular storebought buns.
- Easy to make if you have a stand mixer
- No eggs, no milk, no dairy needed!
Ingredients Used to Make Tofu Steamed Buns with Mochi Filling
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour - I used bread flour for this recipe (I use King Arthur Bread Flour most), which I prefer and highly recommend for the best texture and structure. Please read the note on the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Instant Yeast - you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast for this recipe since active yeast (unlike instant yeast) needs to be activated in water, which we don't add until the very end.
- Sugar - I used raw cane sugar, but you can use regular granulated white sugar, or healthier alternatives like coconut, date, or maple sugars which are less processed and more natural. I also sometimes like to use honey powder.
- For yeasted breads, I would not recommend using sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or stevia powder since they can cause the bread to not rise properly. If you prefer a lower sugar recipe, you're welcome to leave out the sugar. The bread might taste slightly plain, but it will not significantly impact the shape or texture of the bread.
- Salt - Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Baking Powder - helps to puff up the dough during the steaming process.
- Tofu - high in protein and nutrient-dense, tofu contains minerals such as calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, as well as B vitamins. It’s also a “complete protein” because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs. NOTE: You can use non-silken tofu, but the silken tofu gives you the best, fluffiest result. I used the firm kind, like this one
- Olive Oil - I like using light olive oil since it has a neutral flavor, but you can also any cooking oil of your choice like coconut oil, or avocado oil instead
- I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. You're also welcome to use a bread machine, or knead the dough by hand.
More Tofu Recipes (HERE)
What I Used for the Filling
- Sweetened Red Bean Paste (a.k.a. Koshi An): You can find Sweetened Red Bean paste in most Asian grocery stores, and online (Amazon). There are Fine and Coarse kinds (I used coarse).
- Glutinous Rice Flour - this goes by many names. You'll see Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Flour (my favorite brand) in Asian grocery stores, and Sweet White Rice Flour in most other stores. ***Please note that regular white rice flour or brown rice flour is NOT the same thing as glutinous rice flour!!!
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Tofu Steamed Buns with Mochi Filling
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the tofu, right from the package. No need to wash or rinse.
Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, or as much as needed, until all the ingredients are JUST combined, with dry ingredients remaining.
Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
It's best if the bowl is put in a warm place, for example, inside an oven that's been preheated for just a quick 10 seconds and spritzed with some water. Or, inside a microwave with a cup filled with hot water
When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove it from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 10-12 pieces, and roll into balls. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside.
Prepare mochi filling: in a large microwave-safe bowl, stir 1 cup sweet rice flour and 1 Tbsp sugar with 1 cup of water. Microwave for 2 minutes, or until translucent.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the balls of tofu dough, and apply a layer of red bean paste filling.
Top with the prepared mochi filling, and seal the filling inside the dough. Use wet fingers to help seal the dough.
Place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the buns to the steaming pan, and steam for 15 minutes.
Remove from the steamer and enjoy while warm.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Add color to the buns - matcha powder, food coloring, etc!
- Other than coloring you can also add different flavorings to the dough before cooking. For example, you can add either a teaspoon of coffee extract or espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon or Cardamom Powder. They're not typically added in a traditional recipe, but you're welcome to experiment!
Different Filling Options
If you want to enjoy these steamed buns with a variety of fillings, there are many fun and delicious filling options to choose from. Here are some ideas!
- Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) – on Amazon, here, or here's a Shortcut White Bean Paste Recipe I make when I’ve run out of Shiro An
- Mung Bean paste - sweet and delightfully yellow, homemade mung bean paste is a perfect mochi filling for those who are looking for a healthier bean paste alternative. Here's my 2-Ingredient mung bean paste recipe here
How to Store Tofu Steamed Buns with Mochi Filling
- These steamed buns can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours, and for longer storage, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Because of the mochi filling, these buns CANNOT be stored in the fridge. This is because the mochi tends to harden and turn waxy if refrigerated.
NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- While bread flour is highly recommended, all-purpose flour can be used instead with 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour.
- You can use non-silken FIRM tofu, but the silken tofu gives you the best, fluffiest result.
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you’ll end up with more flour than what’s called for in the recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
- To make this recipe in the bread machine: add all the dry ingredients into the machine, and stir briefly before adding the wet ingredients. The machine can be set for basic. Check the dough for consistency and adjust by adding additional water (or flour) before the end of the first kneading cycle. If you want to add additional nuts or dried fruits, leave them aside, and only 3 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle.
More Steamed Recipes (HERE)
Tofu Steamed Buns with Mochi Filling (Easy, Japanese Style Recipe)
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the tofu, right from the package. No need to wash or rinse.
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, or as much as needed, until all the ingredients are JUST combined, with dry ingredients remaining.
- Note: Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water (or additional bread flour) may be necessary than what's called for in the recipe, depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the tofu, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
- Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
- Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes***
- When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 10-12 equal sized pieces. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside.
- Prepare mochi filling: in a large microwave-safe bowl, stir 1 cup sweet rice flour and 1 Tbsp sugar with 1 cup of water. Microwave for 2 minutes, or until translucent.
- Use a rolling pin to flatten the balls of tofu dough, and apply a layer of red bean paste filling.
- Top with the prepared mochi filling, and seal the filling inside the dough. Use wet fingers to help seal the dough.
- Place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
- Let rise for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water and prepare the steamer
- Transfer the buns to the steaming pan and steam the buns for 15 minutes